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News Releases from Region 10

North Pacific Seafoods to reduce air pollution from Naknek facility in settlement with EPA over failure to plan for risks from hazardous chemicals

10/18/2017
Contact Information: 
Bill Dunbar (dunbar.bill@epa.gov)
206-553-1019

SEATTLE -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that North Pacific Seafoods of Seattle will reduce diesel emissions and the potential for harmful interruption of its refrigeration process as part of a settlement for the company’s failure to comply with the hazardous chemicals risk management requirements of the Clean Air Act at its Red Salmon Cannery in Naknek.

The EPA found that since 2014 the company failed to develop and implement a risk management plan to detect and prevent or minimize accidental releases of the cannery’s large volume of anhydrous ammonia - a potentially deadly chemical - and to provide a prompt emergency response to any such releases. A power failure could shutdown refrigeration equipment, leading to over pressurization in ammonia-containing equipment thus causing relief devices to release ammonia on site.

The information in a facility’s Risk Management Plan helps local fire, police, and emergency response personnel who must prepare for and respond to chemical accidents, and is useful to citizens in understanding the chemical hazards in communities. The company has submitted its risk management plan and returned to compliance.

Under the terms of its agreement with the EPA, North Pacific Seafoods will spend approximately $175,000 on a Supplemental Environmental Project to install a solar power system and upgrade its lighting to LEDs. The company will also pay a $45,743 penalty.

The Clean Air Act requires facilities that store threshold amounts of hazardous chemicals – at Red Salmon Cannery that would be 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia -- to have an adequate risk management and emergency plan in place, and ensure its workers are adequately trained to respond in case of a spill or accidental release.

Prolonged exposure to anhydrous ammonia - commonly used in industrial refrigeration, agricultural, and cold storage facilities -- at high concentrations (around 300 parts per million) is immediately dangerous to life and health, and can lead to serious lung damage and even death. Skin contact with ammonia can cause extensive damage by corrosive burns. Ammonia is also flammable and can explode if it is released in an enclosed space with a source of ignition present.

“Facilities that store and use hazardous materials have a special obligation to understand and carefully follow regulations designed to protect people, our communities and our environment from potentially catastrophic consequences of accidents,” said Ed Kowalski, director of EPA Region 10’s Office of Compliance and Enforcement. “Failure to comply with the law puts workers, first responders, and members of the surrounding community at risk.”

About the law

Introduced in the aftermath of chemical disasters in Bhopal, India and Institute, West Virginia. Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act requires companies of all sizes that use certain listed regulated flammable and toxic substances to develop a Risk Management Program, which includes a(n):

  • Hazard assessment that details the potential effects of an accidental release, an accident history of the last five years, and an evaluation of worst-case and alternative accidental releases scenarios;
  • Prevention program that includes safety precautions and maintenance, monitoring, and employee training measures; and
  • Emergency response program that spells out emergency health care, employee training measures and procedures for informing the public and response agencies (e.g., the fire department) should an accident occur.

The information in a facility’s Risk Management Plan helps local fire, police, and emergency response personnel who must prepare for and respond to chemical accidents, and is useful to citizens in understanding the chemical hazards in communities.

For more information on Clean Air Act Section 112r go to:

https://www.epa.gov/rmp/fact-sheet-clean-air-act-section-112r-accidental-release-prevention-risk-management-plan-rule

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